There is a timeliness to this book. The pandemic caused many of us to focus or refocus on what is most important and to prune away what is not.
Becca Ehrlich is a Lutheran pastor (ELCA) who has served in churches in western New York State. She is also a student of Christian spirituality who holds advanced degrees. As she explains in this book, she has become convinced that owning and using less is the best way to live and the closest way to approach living by the teachings of Jesus.
She defines Christian minimalism in several places in the book. We liked this one best: “Jesus said, ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10). Living in abundant, or full, life is what Jesus wants for us. That full life includes spending our time and energy and resources on what matters most, which means removing anything that keeps us from living that abundant life Jesus wants for us.”
This offers a clear contrast to the so-called “Prosperity Gospel” that has become common from prominent television and media preachers, who tell listeners that Jesus wants them to have their heart’s desires, including all possessions that they want. Ehrlich’s approach is like a clear sky over the Jesus whom one actually encounters when reading the gospels in the New Testament.
After two introductory chapters on minimalism and Christianity and on how to recover from the sin of stockpiling possessions, there are seven chapters on Fellowship, Self-Care, Stewardship, Spiritual Growth, Vocation, Service, and Living the Abundant Life. Each chapter includes practical suggestions for how to fill your life with activities and conversation and relationships, to replace the things you may be discarding.
This is a welcome and helpful tool.